Anyone I’ve ever talked to will tell you that the best Italian food can only be found in Italy. But I can tell you from experience that great Italian food is often found right around the corner where you least expect it.
In the heart of Italy
Italy is a small country compared to the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have awesome Italian food from countries that aren’t Italian one single bit?
You might say that Italian food is a passion rather than just a cooking style.
And even though the pizza was one of Italy’s finest and most popular exports, many of their lesser-known culinary charms are popping up in some rather odd global locations.
Right next to the Bayleaf Hotel in downtown Manila, you’ll find a nice little restaurant that offers awesome and authentic Italian Wood-fired pizzas. They offer all the popular styles including Margherita, Four Cheese, Prosciutto, but will also offer Eggplant and Anchovy. This features olives, tomatoes, and ricotta cheese. But pizza isn’t the only authentic dish they offer. They also feature some very regional main dishes you will find from Southern Italy.
They feature Parmesan Risotto, Porcini Carbonarra, and Pomodoro with tomato, basil, and spaghetti. They even offer Seafood Tortiglioni and Clams and Mussels that have chilies, white wine, marrow, garlic, and spaghetti.
You might think that Italian food in New York City is pretty authentic, but just a state away; over in Harford, you’ll find more than a handful of Italian restaurants on Franklin Avenue. Not all of them are just pizza, so you’ll find many in-house dining experiences that give you a delicate taste of Italy. Many of these 1st generation immigrants direct from Italy found their new home in Connecticut around the turn of the century.
Along with them, they brought their recipes from home- which brought back the style of Naples and Southern Italy. If you happen to stop in Hartford over the weekend, be sure to check out any of the Italian restaurants on Franklin Ave.
Often referred to as Melbourne’s Little Italy, it’s hard to imagine that the folks in Oz would be offended with a little bit of Italy. it seems that Lygon Street in downtown Melbourne plays host to some of the finest pizza and Italian restaurants down under. Don’t worry about how authentic it claims to be, many of these joints are 2nd generation immigrants who settled in Australia.
From pizza to calzones, you’ll find plenty of traditional cuisine favorites along with this cluster of well-known Italian restaurants. The best part is the great selection of Italian delis that offer incredible sandwiches and pastry treats. When down under, check them out:
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Who would figure that Brazil would have an Italian community, but to our surprise, this is where the initial Pomodoro tomato was discovered in South America in 1548 by a Tuscan steward. It was brought back to Italy and the rest is history. So, go figure that tomato sauce and Pomme d’Or became part of Italian cuisine. The fine-dining Italian restaurants in Sao Paulo will give you a taste of Sicily that is as old as the recipes they brought over.
There are plenty of pizza restaurants likewise since much of the population in Brazil is simply nuts over pizza. They might have modified many recipes to fit the taste of locals, as I can tell you, most residents in Sao Paulo love drizzling sweet and spicy honey on top. Check it out when you’re in town!
Johannesburg, South Africa
I love the amazing wines from Joburg and can’t get enough of the amazing sights whenever visiting South Africa. Some of the best Italian restaurants in Johannesburg aren’t hard to find if you know what to look for.
I highly recommend Pronto, Mythos, and Franco’s Pizzeria, and Trattoria. If you have a sweet tooth as I do, you can’t miss La Cremosa for the best Italian gelato I’ve seen in years.
Don’t let the location fool you either, Lots of foodies don’t like to talk about Joburg for political reasons. I would like to say that the spirit and enthusiasm I found in South Africa is wildly overblown. When it comes to experiencing cultural hotspots, you’ll find a bit of everything in SA. Check it out!